Trailer: A Bigger Splash with Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Dakota Johnson

Posted on October 3, 2015 at 8:00 am

The lives of a famous rock star and a filmmaker, (Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts) vacationing on the idyllic sun-drenched and remote Italian island of Pantelleria are disrupted by the unexpected visit of an old friend and his daughter (Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson) – creating a whirlwind of jealousy, passion and, ultimately, danger for everyone involved.

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Interview: Adam LaVorgna of “Masterless”

Posted on October 2, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Adam LaVorgna became an actor very young and was in the cast of the television series “Brooklyn Bridge” and “7th Heaven” before he was out of his teens. He loved the cast but he felt lost. He tried to use drugs to feel better and tried rehab more than once. “And I always thought about God,” he said. “If He were to look at me, would He be proud? And I decided to go back to church.” LaVorgna, a Catholic, returned to the faith of his youth, much like his character “Kane Madison” does in his new film, “Masterless,” a dual story of two lost souls: Kane Madison, an architect in Los Angeles, and his spiritual counterpart, an 18th-century Ronin, a samurai with no lord or master, who is wandering a netherworld of masked demons and Japanese swordsmen.

I spoke to LaVorgna about his career and his return to faith. He told me he first got involved with acting because his older sister was acting and his mother would bring him along on auditions and jobs. “My sister used to model for Ford. I tagged along a couple of times and the people that were at Ford, the agents said, ‘Well, would your son like to model?’ My mom said, ‘He’s got a ton of energy and he tags along anyway, so sure, why not?’ She was the opposite of a stage mother. So I started modeling and I was really hyperactive and liked the spotlight and one thing led to another and I got an agent and the first audition I ever had was this movie called “29th Street.” I was eight years old and then that was really it from there.” But he did not think of himself as an actor growing up. “I thought of myself as a hockey player.” When he was working, though he enjoyed watching the older actors and learned from them about “being professional, just knowing your lines, hitting your marks, being on time, being nice to makeup and hair wardrobe, just basic things.” He does not consider himself “method,” but observing the way different actors behaved on and off the set gave him a lot to think about.

He first thought of himself as an actor when he left home at 18 to move to California so he could be in “7th Heaven.” “That’s when acting became like my sole backbone, became my chassis. I felt it was like something was missing. I loved this show and I loved everyone on it but as a kid you want to run around. I wanted to do films and wanted to go to different countries and different cities and work with different people. I was restless. I wanted to kind of get around. I was away from my family and I wasn’t happy at that point in my career. You take kids from East Coast, and I came out of Boston College, a Jesuit private university in Boston, and put them in LA and give them an absurd amount of money per week and I wasn’t working all that much time so I had a lot of time off and of course in Hollywood that’s like a recipe for disaster. One thing led to another and I got involved in the partying and the night life and that kind of thing. There are some people that are able to control it, there are some people who don’t do it at all. I let it consume me and then it got to a point where I was just like, ‘I can’t be here anymore,’ so I left ‘7th Heaven,’ we mutually agreed for me to leave the show, and it was the best thing for me at the time. And then I came back East.”

In “Masterless,” LaVorgna plays two roles.  One is “a samurai without a master, so he’s going through his journey alone.”  The other is a modern day architect in Los Angeles who is also alone.  “He doesn’t want help. He’s rejected God. He’s stubborn; he’s insolent about doing it by himself in the alternate world.  It’s interesting in the film because you don’t know who is the bad guy, so you think the good guy is the bad guy and then the bad guy might be the good guy and back and forth. But there is a wise man in the movie. He gives me the words of wisdom, but my character hears him and he doesn’t listen. He hears everything but he’s so stubborn that he neglects to let it seep in. He knows but he just doesn’t want to hear it. It’s like I went to church the past week and the priest’s sermon said ‘Just be open. just be open.’ What I want for the film is for people to watch and go like ‘There is something more.’This film I am hoping will get people to just think: ‘How I do find myself?'”

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Interview: Goran Visnjic of “The Journey Home”

Posted on October 2, 2015 at 8:17 am

Goran Visnjic stars in the family movie adventure The Journey Home, with Dakota Goyo as an Canadian boy who is determined to bring a polar bear cub back to its mother. The scenery is spectacular and the story is heartwarming and exciting. I spoke to Visnjic about making the film.

Can a polar bear cub be trained?

No. No. Pure and simple no. We had a polar bear cub that came with his trainers from China, I believe, and he was used for some shots from afar and he just couldn’t work with people. This little bear was a grizzly bear that these film trainers had in Canada. And he was pretty much very nice to Dakota and me. We were able to spend time around him. It’s just like he was okay with these guys with his trainers and with us. It was quite a pleasure to experience being around him. Honestly, you don’t work too much with the bear because the bear had more rights on the film set than kids and the lead actor. He can’t work for a long time because he gets really distracted by different things and he doesn’t understand what he’s doing. He just knows he’s doing something. So those were short bits and pieces. We did it so fast that it was amazing. I remember it was very often one or two takes and he would be off of the set. So that was really nice to see that somehow this bear was clicking really nicely with Dakota and I.

The scenery was gorgeous. Where did you film?

We were in Manitoba mostly and then we went up to Rankin Inlet for basically chasing the ice. The ice started melting much earlier than we anticipated so we started losing the ice cover. We had to literally take a little plane to go in search of ice. We went all the way up north to Rankin Inlet and another little town that is completely isolated. The only way to get there is in summer time with a boat and airplane and in winter time over the ice. There is no train to go there. That was a bit of adventure, filming there for about ten days on the sea ice. So this was literally going across the cracks and the ice jumping across the ocean. And below its was like a freezing water. The nature is just stunning, the sea ice and the color of the sky. And I have never been in my life in the so far north that we didn’t have any night. It was just like daylight during the whole time, so it messes up with your body a little. You know you don’t need as much sleep so you feel like you have much more energy. It’s just a really weird sensation.

What did you do to stay warm?

I’m a skier. I love skiing so I actually years ago took care of my equipment and I’m completely ready. If somebody calls me and invite me to go skiing I can be in my car ready with my gear under five minutes. Everything is ready to go. So I have some really cool hi-tech, my wife calls it my Spiderman shoes. It’s like a bionic kind of like a little underwear thing, body armor or whatever you call it, and it’s extremely warm and it’s breathable. So that was my secret weapon for all the scenes and of course the special boots — you’re able to walk on sea ice the whole day and your feet stay warm.

Your character in the movie is holding on to a big secret. And with all that is going on all the action and the cuteness of the bear and the gorgeousness of the scenery you have to really anchor that role. How do you do that?

It was it was a bit tricky. My old friend from Croatia said once to me, “My favorite actors with me are kids and the animals because if I do something wrong nobody is going to notice me. You know they’re always just looking at the kids and the animals.” So I was a little bit like that, you know, I was really trying the best that I could but I also kind of knew in the end that if I do something amiss or whatever nobody is going to care they’ll watch the bear and the kid.

What should families talk about after they see this movie?

It’s about friendship and it’s about trust, about trusting your kids and talking to them and believing in them. Sometimes when you think they are doing something wrong maybe you should think twice and see it from different angle and try to help them instead of just telling them not to do things. So it’s basically about relationships. You know it’s about trust between people but mostly between the parent and the kid. I learned a lot.

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